HyNet North West earmarked for share of £1bn government funding

Ged Barlow

Key industry bodies and leaders in the North West have welcomed news that HyNet North West – a major project in the region to generate, store and distribute hydrogen – has been selected as a lead project for Government investment worth a total of £1bn.

Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, today (October 19) announced to parliament that HyNet North West will be one of two ‘Track One’ projects on the UK’s Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) Cluster Sequencing Process.

It means the infrastructure in the North West will be progressed as one of two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s, and four by 2030 at the latest, and be backed by a share of the £1bn Infrastructure Fund to support industry deploying CCUS at pace.

The move is a key one that will support the roll-out of hydrogen as a clean fuel for transport and for use by businesses across the North West.

Ged Barlow, chief executive of Net Zero North West, said: “HyNet is vitally important, not just to the decarbonisation of the North West, but to the whole of the UK, so we wholeheartedly welcome the Government’s decision to back the project as a track 1 cluster.

“This announcement shows how the North West is uniquely positioned to help drive the UK’s transition to net zero.

“As our recent Net Zero North West manifesto made clear, we are not just talking about the opportunity we have a clear plan for how we can be the UK’s first net zero region.

“With an unrivalled mix of low carbon energy projects already happening we have all the ingredients to underpin a long term, resilient net zero energy system in the UK.”

Prof Joe Howe, chair of North West Hydrogen Alliance and executive director, Thornton Research Institute at the University of Chester, said: “It’s incredible news that HyNet in the North West of England has been confirmed as a track one carbon capture cluster by the Government.

“The region not only has one of the lowest cost and deliverable carbon capture solutions, but has made significant progress in developing plans for a full hydrogen system to generate, store and distribute hydrogen to our job-creating companies in our industrial heartland.”

He added: “The Government’s decision will drive essential investment to deliver carbon capture facilities in the region – a key component of unleashing the hydrogen economy in the region and the UK.

“It is just the moment we have all been waiting for and, crucially, will keep up the pace to bring the first stages of the HyNet project to fruition by the mid-2020s.

“With COP26 on the horizon and the spotlight on practical steps to reach net zero carbon emissions, this is excellent progress.

“It will provide long term confidence to big employers in the region and investors that, as well as the North West being a leading force in the Green Industrial Revolution, hydrogen, as a clean source of power and fuel, can and will be delivered at a mass scale sooner rather than later.”

Steve Rotheram

Liverpool Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, said: “Today’s decision is a massive show of confidence from government that the North can lead the country’s transition to net zero – with our region front and centre.

“I’ve been a longstanding and passionate advocate of HyNet, for its revolutionary approach to clean, green energy, and for its capacity to protect and create thousands of high skilled, high paid jobs across the region. And it is the Liverpool City Region that is at the heart of HyNet, from pioneering trials of new technology in St Helens and the Wirral, to carbon storage in Liverpool Bay.”

He added: “When it is up and running in 2025, it will provide a huge boost to our economy and our ambitious net zero targets. This project alone will reduce the region’s carbon emissions by 10m tonnes each and every year by 2030. It could also generate up to £31bn for the UK and will single handedly deliver 80% of the UK’s clean power targets by the end of the decade.

“It is my ambition for our region to be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution, leading the charge towards net zero, and taking advantage of the myriad of jobs, investment and opportunities that it provides.

“From our existing strengths in wind and solar power, to revolutionary new projects like HyNet and our Mersey Tidal Power scheme, our region has the potential to be Britain’s Renewable Energy Coast – with local people benefiting from the employment and training opportunities that go with it.”

Clare Hayward MBE, DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “We are absolutely delighted by today’s announcement that HyNet North West low carbon and energy project will be one of the first two to be delivered in the UK.

“We have ambitious targets to reach net zero and make Cheshire and Warrington a world leader in low carbon technologies and innovation and this is a huge step forward for the decarbonisation of our region.

“The North West and North Wales is a region which has the largest number of people employed in manufacturing in the UK and has the skills base to drive the hydrogen economy and help us to create the green jobs for the future.

“HyNet is a result of a great partnership with all of the stakeholders involved from across the region. We look forward to working together to put our ambitions into action.”

Cllr Louise Gittins, leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “On behalf of the council and our partners I’d like to congratulate the HyNet team, this is a major element of the plans to see Ellesmere Port as a national and international exemplar for the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’ and to drive forward the new low carbon economy of the future.

“We declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, following consultation with residents pledging to make the council carbon neutral by 2030 and the borough carbon neutral by 2045. Today’s announcement is a giant stride towards this.”

Deepak Maheshwari

The HyNet North West consortium includes Essar Oil UK, which runs the Stanlow oil refinery at Ellesmere Port, Progressive Energy, ENI and Cadent Gas.

Essar’s Stanlow complex will play a central role in the HyNet project, as the site for the proposed construction of hydrogen production plants in partnership with Progressive Energy, as part of a potential £750m investment.

Deepak Maheshwari, Essar Oil UK chief executive, said: “Essar is delighted that HyNet North West has been selected to progress within Track-1 of the industrial decarbonisation Cluster Sequencing process.

“This is a transformative decision which further boosts Essar’s growing momentum as we transition to low carbon operations, continue to invest in Stanlow’s evolution to power the UK’s post-carbon economy and regenerate regional growth.

“We look forward to working with the Government and other regions to deliver low carbon clusters.”


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